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Impeachment Witnesses Who Are Immigrants Present A Unique Challenge To Republicans

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Key witnesses for Trump’s impeachment hearings are a true testament that the U.S. through and through is a nation built by, strengthened by and protected by immigrants, despite Trump’s xenophobic attempts to turn America’s back on them. Former National Security Council official Fiona Hill, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, and former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch all immigrated to the United States and chose to serve the U.S., protecting our national security. The extraordinarily qualified, poised and patriotic public servants who took turns in the witness hot seat under the television lights this past month pose a unique challenge to Republicans and their allies on the far-right who spend so much of their time vilifying immigrants and refugees and questioning the Americanness of anyone who is foreign-born.

The Associated Press uplifted these powerful immigrant stories, spotlighting each witness as examples of what truly makes America great.  

Their stories offered a sharp counterpoint to President Donald Trump, who has often derided immigrants as a threat to American national security.

“I can say with confidence that this country has offered for me opportunities I never would have had in England,” former National Security Council official Fiona Hill testified Thursday. 

…He [Lt. Col. Vindman] expressed gratitude for his “father’s brave act of hope 40 years ago and for the privilege of being an American citizen and public servant, where I can live free, free of fear for mine and my family’s safety.”

“Their personal histories, my personal history gave me both deep gratitude towards the United States and great empathy for others like the Ukrainian people who want to be free…My service is an expression of gratitude for all that this country has given to me and to my family,” she [Yovanovitch] said.

And yet, Republicans and their allies in right-wing media chose to use their status against them, discounting the sacrifices their families made for this country and questioning their loyalty.  

This was not lost on Ruth Marcus, a columnist for the Washington Post, who penned, “The impeachment witnesses are an antidote to Trump’s anti-immigrant worldview,” noting, “The impeachment hearings stand as a rebuke not only to President Trump’s conduct but also to his anti-immigrant, shut-the-doors worldview. The parade of witnesses before the House Intelligence Committee offers an implicit testament to a different America, more welcoming and inspiring. In a month that has exposed the white-nationalist inclinations of Stephen Miller, Trump’s top immigration adviser, these witnesses are the anti-Millers, an antidote to his exclusionary vision.”

And another Washington Post columnist, Jennifer Rubin, notes in an opinion piece on the impact of the impeachment hearings and how striking the underlying values of America and of the politicians were revealed. Specifically, she asks hard questions about the values our nation has stood on, especially on matters of equality and welcoming immigrants. She notes: 

Do you put country above loyalty?…Do you value equality before the law instead of the law of the jungle? In the American context, it means welcoming immigrants (because anyone can become an American, and some of our best Americans are immigrants); demanding equal justice for people you do not know and who are unlike you (‘All men are created…’); sacrificing for others (who may be of another generation); and making opportunities available to the greatest number of people, understanding that we do not all start in the same place.